Wednesday, March 07, 2007 - COLUMNIST - Wojciechowski: Recovering from a YouTube nightmare

This article references this YouTube clip.

Perhaps the most disastrous, college tv station sportscast of all time. - COLUMNIST - Wojciechowski: Recovering from a YouTube nightmare

On a March night in 2005, the nice guy volunteered to anchor the "Newslink @ Nine" sportscast on the Ball State University television station. The scheduled anchor had canceled, so Collins, a 19-year-old telecommunications freshman from Milan, Ohio, offered to help. He had never done a sportscast, but how hard could it be, right? You read some scores, breeze through the highlights, and before you know it, you're back in your dorm room doing English Lit homework.

But what happened next was, well, you can watch for yourself. Click on the link next to the column. I can wait.

See It For Yourself
Missed Brian Collins' ill-fated nightmare of a sportscast two years ago? You can still see the disaster. Video
Done? Sort of like watching someone perform open heart surgery on themselves, isn't it? It might be the most spectacularly painful 3 minutes and 54 seconds in sports broadcasting history. As we approach the two-year anniversary of the telecast, communications scholars everywhere now refer to it as, "The Collins Incident."

First of all, the teleprompter didn't work. Well, it worked, but there was a new person on the prompter who accidentally fast forwarded through the script. So Collins could pick out only a word here or there before it disappeared from the prompter screen. He sounded as if he were deciphering WWII secret code from the Germans.

But wait, he had the typewritten script pages in front of him for emergencies. Yes, he did. Except that the pages were hopelessly out of order. That's when Collins remembers thinking, "You know, tonight's not going to be a good night."

It didn't help that Collins kept looking at the wrong TV monitor during the highlight packages. Or that someone walked behind him during the telecast. Or that every nanosecond of the sportscast seemed to last a leap year.

"The one thing I was proud of, I didn't just get up and walk out," said Collins. "I didn't die. I took it until the end."

What was your favorite moment? The tortured script reading? The long silence punctuated by the sounds of frantic paper shuffling? The labored breathing? The heartfelt, plaintive sigh during the middle of the nightmare? The part where Collins glances to someone off camera and mouths the words, "I'm so sorry?"

It was so dreadful, so tragically funny, and best of all, so human. And yet, Collins somehow gathered himself during the botched Nets-Pacers' highlights and delivered the ad-lib line which became You Tube legend. Remember?

"Later he gets the rebound … passes it to the man … shoots it … and boom goes the dynamite."


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